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lunch in providence

i'm new in town and looking for a good (and sufficiently air-conditioned!) place for lunch that goes beyond a standard sandwich/soup/salad type of place but not too fancy/expensive either. I have lived in the the culinary bliss that is the bay area for the past 6 years and my tastes lean toward the californian/fresh seasonal produce model. Any interesting restaurants that have good lunch deals??

Thanks!

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  1. Bravo in Downcity has a pretty good lunch, and the prices are pretty decent.

    Although it has gotten some mixed reviews over here lately, I also like Red Stripe in Wayland Square for lunch. Right now, they have an excellent gazpacho with pickled shrimp - light and refreshing for this time of year.

    1 Reply
    1. re: LMWW

      Thanks for the recs. We tried Red Stripe today for lunch and liked it. They didn't seem to have the gazpacho and we all got salads which were quite tasty and humongous and we have enough leftover for a few meals now. Our server was a bit iffy and seemed astonished when my mother requested some bread with her salad and it took four different ways of asking before he agreed to bring her some toast at an extra charge.

      And we actually went to Bravo the other night for dinner, not expecting much as I've read mixed reviews but we just wanted a big salad. Once there we got tempted by the special (it was a seared halibut over french lentils) and we ordered it and it was fabulous. The fish was perfeclty cooked and we couldn't stop eating the lentils. It was a pleasant surprise.

    2. Fire + Ice at the Providence Mall area is a great meal. Their website is www.fire-ice.com and will give you a better idea of their concept of pick your own ingredients to be wokked (-ish)

      1. Sorry, I have to really slam Fire and Ice... This chain is one of the worst examples of the Mongolian BBQ concept. Bubble-gum ambiance, grossly overpriced, and low-quality food.

        They give you these tiny bowls to fill, you place it in the center island to be cooked on the wok. After it's done, rather than waiting for it and taking it back to your table, for some reason, they have it placed back on the center island for their their sullen, distracted teenage wait staff to bring to your table. When my sister dragged me there once, my bowl sat up there for five minutes, 10 feet in front of me, my server nowhere in sight. I went up there only to have a host intercept me with the horror of someone watching a car crash, "Oh, no, sir, I'm sorry, you *can't* go get your bowl, your waitress *must* bring it to you!" Me: "Ok, it's been up there over five minutes, and everyone else's bowls have been delivered, and I'm sitting right here in front of it." Host: "No, sir, it's *really* important your waitress bring it." Me: "Ok, she doesn't seem to be around. Can you pick it up and bring it 10 feet over to my table." Host: "NO, sir, it must be your waitress."

        Well, *10* minutes later, over 25 minutes after I placed my self created teeny, weeny bowl of greens and chicken slices up to be cooked and over 15 minutes after it was done, my waitress shows up, picks up the bowl, and unceramoniously dumps it in front of me and huffs away. My sister and I finished what we had in those tiny bowls, paid, and left (no tip). I told the host we would never come back.

        Sorry to spend so much time on a negative, but Providence has such great dining options, I want to make sure no one wastes an once of time or a dollar at this chain.

        So, to be actually helpful, some great downtown lunch options include:
        - Bravo
        - Cuban Revolution (sandwiches, but more interesting than what you're looking to avoid)
        - New Japan
        - Cilantro (wraps)

        In the Jewelry District:
        - Olga's Cup and Saucer

        Wayland Square:
        - Red Stripe

        Fox Point:
        - Taste of India Buffet
        - Cafe Yuni
        - Sawaddee

        That's off the top of my head. Good luck! I feel for you coming from the Bay area. While Providence has great dining representation for a city of its size, it's certainly a dramatic step down in variety and quantity vs a huge metro like that...

        - Garris

        4 Replies
        1. re: Garris

          Gotta agree with Cuban Revolution. Great black beans and a solid Cuban sandwich. Get it with the plantains and you could be having a picnic with Fidel...if he was up to it.
          Not sure about AC however as it is a little hole in the wall playing radical Marxist videos. Great if you have a little buzz on

          1. re: Garris

            Thanks Garris. We opted for Red Stripe today (see above). And I agree with your take on fire & ice. The pee-wees playhouse motif kinda scared me away. What kinds of food are at Cafe Yuni and Sawaddee?

            1. re: zaftig

              Yuni is Korean/Japanese and Sawaddee is Thai (the name means "hello" or "greetings" in Thai).

            2. re: Garris

              Excellent recap of Fire and Ice. Cant stand the place. I had the same thing happen to me as well. I ended up taking the bowl myself and told the host that I would not pay for it if he did not allow me since my food would be cold by the time his horrible waitstaff got around to serving it to me. He just looked at me, I smiled and sat down with our food.

            3. Hmmm... I was going to mention Cuban Revolution, but wasn't sure if it has a/c. Can you confirm?

              Also, Cilantro is good, but I would give the edge to Taqueria Pacifica at AS220. I just don't know if they're open for lunch?

              1. I'd give the nod to AS220 over Cilantro also. And they do serve lunch. Got the burrito when I went, which was lightly grilled, nice touch I thought.

                1. I was just about to mention TP at AS220, too, especially since the poster is from the Bay Area (the couple who operates it is also from the area).

                  Also, not downtown, but how about Julian's and Nick's on Broadway?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: a l i c e

                    I love Julian's, but they definitely do *not* have a/c. So hubby and I have decided to take a "temporary leave of absence" until it cools off a bit. ;)

                    Nick's is also great - though it's very small, with an open kitchen. I'm not sure it would be the most comfortable place to eat when the weather is this hot. But the new location up the street looks like it's coming along nicely - I imagine that they'll be moving soon!

                  2. I feel like I have to mention LJ's BBQ, even though it's new location is just across the Pawtucket line (on East Ave, in the same plaza as Garden Grille - which, incidentally, might be a place you'd want to check out, as it's the only vegetarian/vegan restaurant I know of in the area - to me, very "California"). Great pulled pork, ribs, cornbread, mac and cheese. The weekend brunch menu is to die for.